The Four Quadrants of Technology Service and Support


Whether in a larger organization or as an independent consultant, many technology service and support professionals find themselves performing a wide variety of tasks relating to their work. This document explores four general areas of specialty within the profession of technology service and support.

The Musician as an Example

The musician in a band who loves to perform at live events and record in the studio, will soon discover that the music business also requires bookkeeping skills, marketing talent, customer service experience, and a variety of other supporting responsibilities. The musician wants to just focus on playing music, and let someone else run the business side of things.

Those who struggle with creative talents may do very well with the organizational skills required to run a business, and visa versa. These characteristics are often referred to as people having right brain or left brain dominance. This is why musicians often have managers. These two activities run somewhat in parallel and require that one be in a different state of mind.

Wearing Two Hats

Creativity is sometimes fostered by external factors such as being more relaxed and not being under deadlines. Maybe this is in the quiet hours late at night or early in the morning. During the day, maybe mid-morning or in the afternoon, you’ll find your mind is more analytical and sharp for administrative tasks, and you’ll spend some time on detailed and focused work. Or, for people who are always in one state of mind or the other, you’ll partner with someone who complements your skills and inclinations.

The Two Mindsets of a Technology Professionals

The life of a technology professional is not that different from the life of an artist or musician. A creative mindset is required to develop solutions and improve workflows or procedures. The creative mindset appears to be easily distracted — taking in lots of information, brainstorming, and easily making new conceptual associations and revelations. For technology professionals, an organized, focused, and analytical mindset is also required — to aggregate data into meaningful and actionable conclusions that help attain desired outcomes. Sometimes a single individual can easily flow between creative/distracted and analytical/focused — adjusting their mindset to suit the current needs. Such people thrive with a diversity of demands placed on them. However, most people find it difficult to ‘change gears’ at will. If they are focused on something, a person interrupting them throws them off track and they may loose their train of thought. Or if they are trying to be creative, and then need to prepare a spreadsheet for a meeting presentation deadline, their creativity will be hindered by the stress and shift of mindset. This is why it’s common in businesses to have some creative people and also some business-minded people who collaborate periodically throughout the week, but mostly stay ‘in the zone’ by maintaining the mindset ideal for their work demands and responsibilities.

Based on the two general mindsets that people may be predisposed to (creative or analytical), it makes sense to consider having at least two groups of technology professionals in a business:

  • Analytical. People who mostly find themselves in an analytical mindset will be well suited for the focused and lengthy step-by-step processes required for setting up hardware. They will also do well focusing on administrative tasks, documentation, inventory tracking, system testing, and researching hardware or software abnormalities. Improving workflows and procedures would be another area that is well suited for the analytical and focused mind.
  • Creative. Those needing to come up with innovative solutions may benefit from having a creative disposition. While some disciplined research is needed, one needs a creative mindset to think of new approaches and solutions. At one level, this may involve meeting with people to assess their needs (consulting), and asking the right questions that will help result in innovations that meet goals. Implementation, oversight, improvement, engagement — these will all require a creative mindset to think through every aspect of a project or initiative. On a more granular level, those providing service desk support also need to be creative when confronted with undocumented user support problems and needs. Sometimes it’s enough to just send someone a link to the document that answers their question, but other times a creative mind is needed to solve problems and document the solutions.

Scheduled or On-Demand Workload

The analytical and creative aspects of technology service and support delivery result in two general categories of work logistics:

  • Scheduled. Those engaged in the creative task of consulting or the somewhat analytical task of administration will have in common the fact that much of their work can be scheduled, and scheduled meetings need not necessarily run long. In most meetings, time is allotted to address an issue, and people get as much done as they can in the allotted time. Then a meeting room needs to be vacated, and they need to go on to their next meeting. The creative consultant will meet with people, and discuss their needs, or set aside time in the schedule to work on special projects. There won’t likely be any interruptions in their day.
  • On-Demand. People who provide desktop support for hardware or service desk support when people have usage questions may find that they are needed on-demand. Fixing problems may require unpredictable amounts of time. Other higher priority support needs may arise, causing other request to be reprioritized. Deadlines are more pressing as users are in need of equipment to get their jobs done. Such work demands can be more stressful.

These two different work dynamics aren’t very compatible. In other words, it’s hard to be a help desk provider of immediate support, while at the same time attending meetings (and being on-time). The person who is 100% focused on the delivery of on-demand support can be much more responsive to people’s needs since they are essentially available at any moment (if the need is sufficient). For desktop support, those who are primarily setting up computers can work at their leisure, and setup computers when it suits someone’s schedule. Only when desktop support requires an immediate on-site support response does it require an interruption to one’s day.

The Four Quadrants of Technology Service and Support

Based on the two common mindsets that people have (creative or analytical), and the two types of workload (scheduled or on-demand), we can easily organize four quadrants of technology service and support as shown below.

  1. Consulting (Creative/Scheduled). The consultant can schedule their week, going from one meeting to the next, with quite focused time set aside for creative solutions development and intentional collaboration. They will mostly rely on a creative mindset with a scheduled workload. Having a scheduled workweek creates windows of uninterrupted times for opening up the creative mind.
  2. Service Desk (Creative/On-Demand). The service desk professional needs to be creative and think fast for quickly getting through various support requests. This isn’t the first tier of help desk employees who just read from flowchart telephone scripts or send people links to documentation. This is the higher tier service desk professional who is coming up with the solutions and writing the documentation. They need to respond with innovation when needs arise.
  3. Administrative (Analytical/Scheduled). The higher calling of any director is to be a creative, inspiring, and motivational visionary who leads their organization toward a better workplace with greater outcomes. That role is one that’s largely creative. However, administrators are serving the larger community by organizing, implementing, overseeing, tracking, improving, testing, coordinating, and other tasks. Then they are tasked with aggregating data into meaningful actionable information. Although some ’emergencies’ arise, the administrator can mostly schedule their workload.
  4. Desktop Support (Analytical/On-Demand). Like the service desk professional, the desktop and hardware support person may be called on to respond quickly when hardware needs arise. When equipment fails, it needs to be repaired or replaced quickly. When a computer fails, in an enterprise environment, generally not much creativity is required to get it working again. It’s simply replaced with another system to minimize downtime. If creative solutions are explored, or research is conducted, that’s done after the person has been given a working computer. One doesn’t make the user wait while solutions are researched. So, for the most part, the desktop support person leverages an analytical mindset to methodically and patiently move through sometimes tedious work. It’s important to be detail oriented and focused. A creative mindset would be a detriment if it caused someone to overlook an important step or forget where they were at in a procedure.

Click the chart below for a larger view.


Four Quadrant Tools and Skills

The tools and skills required for each of the different areas of work mentioned above are different:

  1. Consulting. The consultant will need experience and training in the areas they are advising on. They will need space in their office for meetings, or regular access to a space where they can meet with people. They may need some project management software and skills. It would help if such a person has had extensive experience in the service desk and desktop support areas so their advice is based on real-world experience.
  2. Service Desk. The ideal service desk solutions developer and creativist will be familiar with the full breadth of support calls that come in. They would be well equipped if they have experience as an entry level help desk employee.
  3. Administrative. The ideal administrator would have a good understanding of consulting, service desk, and desktop support areas. This way they can serve the team effectively from a place of experience and knowledge.
  4. Desktop Support. The desktop support person will need sufficient space for their work and equipment inventory inventory. The more space available for efficient inventory of equipment, the better they can serve the unit.

The service desk person need not have the array of physical hardware tools or experience that the desktop support person has. The desktop support person need not have the knowledge of software that the service desk person has. They will go to different meetings and rely on different support resources. However, if one person is trying to serve all these roles, their need for space and tools should be adjusted accordingly, and they would need to attend all the meetings required for the various roles. The consultant and administrator may be in more meetings, and would be unable to provide on-demand response to support needs.

How the Quadrants Work in Real Life

When small businesses grow to become larger businesses, it’s common for additional people to be hired, allowing categories of work to be assigned to specific people who can specialize in a certain area. The first ‘cell division’ would be to have two employees doing the work previously performed by one person. One of the employees could provide the help desk user support and desktop hardware support. The other employee could work on consulting and administration. This split works well because the mindset and logistics are similar, or at least easier to shift between. When a business grows to the point that they can have four employees, then it might make sense to use the four quadrant system for assigning tasks and responsibilities.

After Hours Support

Administrators and consultants can typically schedule their meetings during normal business hours. Desktop support professionals can usually work on setting up new computers, repairing existing computers, and retiring old computers during regular business hours. However, service desk people should be available after hours, or at least during the hours when support is anticipated. For example, with a college or university, meetings, lectures, and other work is typically done in the evening. So, providing support from 9 to 5 just doesn’t serve the real-world support the needs that exist.

Collaboration is Key

Although the four quadrants emphasize the different roles that technology professionals have, there is a need for collaboration and teamwork across these different specialties. This is important to make sure nothing falls between the cracks, and also helps ensure that each group is interfacing with the next group and handing off projects properly.

Microsoft Outlook Version 15.8 for Apple Mac Crashing on Startup

If you’re using Microsoft Outlook Version 15.8 for Apple Mac and it is crashing on startup. You may want to try following these steps to restore normal operation.

  1. Open the Terminal program.
  2. Type defaults delete and press Enter. This will delete the old preferences.
  3. Type killall cfprefsd and press Enter to stop the cached prefs.
  4. Launch Outlook again.
  5. You’ll see the welcome screens as if you’re running Outlook for the first time. If you previously setup Outlook and had imported from the old 2011 version, you can skip that step when prompted.

ASUS VivoBook S400CA Support Documentation & Drivers


The ASUS VivoBook series of computers are fast, light, portable ultrabook laptops with the additional computing power you’d expect from a desktop system. This page provides the basic support links and information for the model S400CA.


Features of the S400CA include:

  • Windows 8 Pro or other editions available
  • Up to Intel® Core™ i7 3517U Processor
  • žPrecision touchscreen for intuitive enjoyment
  • Packs touch, SSD speed, and hard drive storage capacity
    in a sleek design
  • Brushed-hairline aluminum textures offer high durability
    and an elegant look
  • Enjoy SonicMaster for impactful and richer sound performance

Further Reading


Click any image below for a larger gallery view.

UI Partners Offers Web and Tech Consulting for Iowa Small Businesses


UI Partners is a program through the University of Iowa that offers website and technology consulting to Iowa businesses. This page offers some general information about the program. To learn more, visit the UI Partners website or contact UI Partners to get started.



UI Partners was created by the University of Iowa specifically to help small Iowa companies innovate and grow. UI Partners works directly with businesses to solve their information technology (IT) challenges, using practical insights and ideas drawn from University faculty, staff, and students.

UI Partners consults with small businesses throughout Iowa on their IT needs, such as creating websites, managing databases, e-commerce or general tech support, as well as general business planning. This translates into projects that student interns or apprentices could work on, allowing UI students to build their resumes while also connecting with innovative Iowa businesses.

UI Partners is working to create a statewide network of integrated engagement centers to assist small businesses.

To support Iowa’s entrepreneurs, targeted technology training is available through the University of Iowa’s Dev/Iowa programs.

IT Assessment

UI Partners provides FREE Technology Needs Assessments for small businesses. Their staff and students work together to find business and technical solutions that help small businesses remain competitive and work more efficiently.

Business Strategy

UI Partners can provide leading edge informatics expertise and business training to organizations, startups, and established businesses. The group uses advanced entrepreneurship and business training to help find innovative solutions for your business.

Technology & Business Survey

The UI Partners Business Survey helps gather the essential information about a business to provide the best services possible.

Student Experience

UI Partners has a student employment program to assist college students in obtaining real world technology experience. Students get to work with multiple businesses to assist with IT and business strategy projects. Learn more or Apply Now.

Technical Training

UI Partners offers resources and training to help new and established business thrive with the technology solution that’s developed for their needs.

Innovate & Grow

UI Partners was created by The University of Iowa specifically to help small Iowa companies innovate and grow. They work directly with businesses to solve their information technology (IT) challenges, using practical insights and ideas drawn from University faculty, staff, and students. They are working to create a statewide network of integrated engagement centers to assist small businesses.

Workshops and Events

To support Iowa’s entrepreneurs, targeted technology training is available through the University of Iowa’s Dev/Iowa programs. Training opportunities include guest speakers, weekend workshops, one week programs and the intensive Dev/Iowa Bootcamp. Below is a video from the Dev/Iowa Bootcamp 2014.


Engagement Centers

UI Partners currently has three Engagement Centers located in Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and Sioux City. They plan to open more UI Partners locations across the state of Iowa.

Direction & Leadership

UI Partners is a division of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

Click here to visit the UI Partners website.

How to Force Quit a Program on an Apple Mac Computer

The chart below shows how to force quit a program on an Apple Mac computer. There are two primary ways to do this. You can choose Force Quit from the Apple Menu found in the upper left corner. Or, you can press the alt/option + command + esc keys on the keyboard to bring up the Force Quit menu. Click the image for a larger view.


Apple Mac Force Quit Menu

The Force Quit menu is shown below.


Apple Mail Compatibility Issues with Google Gmail and Microsoft Live Hotmail


Cross Brand Compatibility Issues

In their pursuit of customer loyalty, companies sometimes create proprietary exclusive technologies that don’t work well outside a certain brand ecosystem.

For example, Gmail (from Google) and Hotmail (from Microsoft) work great on their respective platforms:

  • Using a Google Chromebook or Android device (available on tablets and phones) you’ll likely have very few problems with Google’s gmail system.
  • Similarly, using Microsoft’s proprietary email clients found in Windows computers, tablets, or phones, it’s possible to enjoy a quality email experience.

However, using products across competing platforms often produces undesirable and unpredictable results.

According to conservative estimates, thousands of people are currently being inconvenienced by the incompatibility issues between the Apple Mail Client and Google Gmail Mail service.

Apple Devices Produce Unexpected Results

Oddly, when using an Apple iOS device (iPod, iPhone, or iPad), users experience exceptional email client compatibility with all features, folder access, and synchronization working properly. Yet, using Apple Mail on an Apple OS X device (laptop or desktop computer), users experience numerous problems.

Apple Mail and Gmail Issues

Here’s what OS X may experience when using Apple Mail with Gmail:

  • Archiving Error. New emails are delivered to an archive folder rather than the inbox.
  • Unread Count Error. Messages read on another device show up as unread on other devices.
  • Speed Issues. Apple Mail may load slowly.
  • Missing Emails. All messages may disappear from the inbox or other folders and not show up for a few minutes (or longer).
  • Synchronization Latency. Services like Apple iCloud, Microsoft Live, and Microsoft Exchange server all allow Push notification so you’re instantly notified of emails, calendar changes, and updated or new contact information. Gmail, unfortunately, requires a Fetch command in order to receive updates.

Apple Support Documents

Here are some Apple support documents relating to Apple Mail compatibility issues with Gmail.

Google Gmail Support Documents

Google offers a document with suggested IMAP settings for various email clients.

  • Recommended IMAP client settings – “All IMAP clients differ, and you can configure your mail client’s settings to best suit your needs. However, to work optimally with Gmail, we recommend certain settings. Click on your client below to view our recommended configuration.”

Jeff Schuette Configuration Document

There is a lengthy document on this subject, with suggestions from Jeff Schuette on how to best configure Apple Mail to work with Gmail.

  • Setting up Apple Mail to Rock and Roll with Gmail – “OS X 10.9 Mavericks has changed how Mail works with Gmail. This article is now only relevant for older versions of Mail. If you have previously followed these directions and have now updated to Mavericks, please see Apple Mail and Gmail Part Deux.”
  • Apple Mail and Gmail Part Deux – “If you followed my tutorial Setting up Apple Mail to Rock and Roll with Gmail, you will need to make some changes after upgrading to Mavericks.”

Further Reading

The following articles document the above issues and in some cases offer possible resolutions or work-arounds. It’s important when searching for articles to read current ones (within the past few months) since older articles may only be relevant for software that’s been replaced or subsequently updated.

  • Apple mail does not sync with gMail – “Today my Apple Mail no longer provides me with my gMail in the inbox. I can send mail to my gMail address and it shows in the Sent box …but it never makes it to my Inbox. If I log directly into Google Mail the email message is there.”
  • IMAP Gmail messages going directly to Archive folder instead of inbox – “Since upgrading to Mavericks, my Gmail accounts have been acting up in my Mac Mail program. At first it was just extremely slow to download the IMAP mail (my other POP email accounts continue to work just fine). However, in the past couple of days, I’ve noticed that incoming mail through the Gmail account randomly goes to my Inbox or to the Archive folder. This is very frustrating and can lead me to missing emails that I need to see. I haven’t changed any settings in Gmail or in the Mac Mail program.”
  • Mavericks Mail App and Gmail folders – “I have installed Mavericks on my MBA. Now in the mail app, when I drag messages from the inbox to a gmail folder, they leave the inbox. But if I click off of the inbox and then click back on it – they reappear in the inbox.”
  • Even after OS X 10.9.2 Mavericks update, users still complaining about Mail issues – “Mail in OS X Mavericks has been the new operating system’s least impressive point. Since launch, users have been complaining about issues relating to Gmail accounts, stability, and overall synchronization. Apple first attempted to patch up these bugs with a fix in early November of last year…”
  • Mail App crashes after OSX 10.9.2 update – “Updated to 10.9.2 today, now mail app crashes, Activity Monitor is showing it using 100% usage. It also makes my MacBook Air 2013 very hot.”
  • Apple posts workaround for Mavericks Mail sync issues, no permanent fix yet – “There’s good news and bad news for users of Apple’s Mail app who have been plagued by problems since updating to OS X Mavericks. Apple has acknowledged that users are still having trouble despite multiple updates since a new version of Mail first released with the updated operating system, but the suggested fix is only a temporary workaround.”

Benefits of Using Customer Support Systems for Tracking Customer Service Incidents



Online Customer Support Systems track the service requests of customers or any other individuals that an organization or business needs to support.


Here are some of the benefits gained from using customer support systems:

  • Knowledge Base. Some systems include an online Forum area where people can share ideas, questions, and help support each other. Answers provided by support staff are searchable and accessible to all. So, this creates a helpful online knowledge base.
  • Management. Managers can more easily oversee staff work and progress.
  • Problem Identification. Wide-spread problems are more easily identified.
  • Time Accounting. Individuals and groups can better track how their time is spent.

Systems Available

Here’s a short list of some online help desk support systems worth considering.

  • – “Our entire team at is passionate about building tools that help small businesses deliver amazing customer service.’s products emphasize social networking, flexible pricing, powerful agent tools, and web-based self-service.”
  • – “FreshDesk is an enterprise level ticketing system at a fraction of the price of other systems currently on the market. Their innovative approach and rapid development means that new features seem to be appearing every day and the best thing of all is that they actually listen and respond to featured requests.”
  • – “We built a product that helps companies deliver outstanding customer support. We’re committed to small businesses that love customers, and providing them with a simple product, free data-driven eBooks and ongoing content about customer loyalty.”
  • – “We started in 2001 with a goal: a better customer support experience. Today, Kayako is the leading multichannel helpdesk. Tens of thousands of businesses connect to millions of customers using Kayako.”
  • – “Over 5 million IT pros. 3,000 tech advertisers… all getting their jobs done in one place. What started in 2006 as “the free IT” revolution has turned into a way of life for many in the IT world. How? Spiceworks is the first place people go to share and find info on all-things-IT… so much so that some tech products are now even built in Spiceworks!”
  • – “SupportBee’s help desk software helps you manage your customer support emails efficiently. Current customer support software is a unnecessarily complicated relic of the desktop software era.”
  • – “Over 40,000 companies and organizations use for their customer service tracking including Disney, Vodafone, Xerox, Box, and 20th Century Fox.”
  • – “ offers a comprehensive suite of award-winning online business, productivity & collaboration applications. Customers use Zoho Applications to run their business processes, manage their information and be more productive while at the office or on the go, without having to worry about expensive or outdated hardware or software.”


Apple Mac – Using iCal or Microsoft Office 2011 Outlook Calendar to Open Another Person’s Shared Calendar and Share Your Calendar

Microsoft Office 2011 Outlook Calendar

If you’re using Microsoft Office 2011 on an Apple Mac computer, and want to open a calendar that someone else has shared, or share your own calendar, you’ll find that the menu options and user interface are somewhat non-intuitive.

Here are the necessary steps to open a shared calendar:

  1. You don’t need to be viewing the Calendar or in the Calendar module to proceed. This works from within email or anywhere else in Outlook.
  2. From the File menu, choose Open > Other User’s Folder
  3. For Folder Type, choose Calendar. Outlook will default to the Exchange server you’ve connected to as the source for names and shared folders.
  4. Type in the person’s last name, then first name, or username, or search on any part of their name. The resulting list may be long if you are in a larger institution, business, organization, or enterprise.
  5. Click/highlight the person’s name and then press the Select button. This will add their calendar under Shared Calendars and synchronize their calendar events to Outlook, assuming they have given you rights to view their calendar.

Here are the steps to sharing your calendar:

  1. Go to the Calendar view/module.
  2. Under My Calendars, right click on the calendar name associated with the Exchange server account you’re using.
  3. Click on Sharing Permissions.
  4. From the resulting menu, you can click Add User, then search for available users. Make sure the person has already followed the instructions above to share their calendar with you.

Apple iCal Calendar Software

If using Apple iCal calendar software, the Delegates are selected in the Accounts menu.

Note: The iCal calendar software has two Account menus. If you go to the Calendar menu and click on Accounts, this will take you to the System Preferences Accounts settings and not the preferences for the iCal accounts. Instead, follow the instructions below.

Follow these steps to share your calendar with someone else:

  1. Click on the Calendar menu, then Preferences, then Accounts to adjust the Delegates and shared calendars.
  2. To share your calendar with others, use the Edit button found below the “Accounts I can access” list of users. Then add users to the list with the plus sign, then enter their name.

Follow these steps to view a calendar someone has shared with you:

  1. Click on the Calendar menu, then Preferences, then Accounts to adjust the Delegates and shared calendars.
  2. Use the Plus symbol to add the users who have given you rights to view their calendar.


This article was developed by MG.

Palm PDA Organizer Device, Erasing All Data with Factory Reset


Summary. Before discarding any old Palm organizers, it’s a good idea to erase the content from the device. The instructions below describe how to do this.

1. Initiate Reset

When you power on your Palm device, as you see the progress bar indicating the operating system is loading, press and hold the power button.


2. Confirm Reset

You should then receive a confirmation message asking if you want to erase all data. Typically pressing up on the navigation buttons or ring will indicate YES and down will indicate NO.


3. Guided Initial Setup

You will then be guided through the initial setup of the device, including language choice, time zone, date/time settings, and more.

Free Unlimited Live Tech Support 24/7 and 365 Days-Per-Year with Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Tablet Computer


Raising the Bar on Technical Support

Amazon has just raised the bar on what consumers will expect with technical support:

“Live instantaneous on-screen tech support and instruction 24 hours-a-day and 365 days-per-year anywhere in the world. All for the low price of free.” (Click Here to Learn More)

A More Economical Technology Choice

When you buy an inkjet printer these days, the real cost of ownership is found in the cost of regularly replacing the ink cartridges. In fact, for most devices, it’s not the purchase price, but the ongoing support costs that are so expensive. Considering the high cost of low quality tech support, complicated interactive phone menus, long hold times, off-shore call centers, and impersonal instructions over the phone that requires that you do the work, the Amazon free unlimited support plan makes the Kindle Fire HDX tablet computer an obvious choice for consumers.

Kindle Fire HDX Tablet Computer Has Many Uses

If you’re seeking a computing platform for browsing the web, checking emails, reading books, watching movies, working with spreadsheets, using Skype, posting to Facebook, managing calendars, printing documents, and working with various programs,  you may want to consider the Kindle Fire HDX tablet computer. (Buy Now)

Better Performance Through Better Support

It doesn’t matter how powerful your computer is if it’s not working due to a virus or other unknown problem, and if you can’t get someone to fix the system, it’s useless. Amazon’s new tablet computing system has a super powerful 2.2GHz quad-core processor, but what really makes it perform better than any other computing device is that the system includes ongoing 24/7 support 365 days-per-year.

Instantaneous Live Support

Within seconds, a live support technician will appear on your screen and can guide you through tasks or provide instruction. They can also perform infrequent tasks for you if you’d rather not take the time to learn.

This amazing support contract is included in the purchase price of the tablet ($229 for the 7″ model and $379 for 8.9″ model)

Video Demonstration

The video below offers a videos demonstrating the new Kindle Fire HDX features including the live on-screen support.